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Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

  • Jess Benhabib
  • Boyan Jovanovic

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 321-348

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Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:53:y:2012:i:2:p:321-348
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  1. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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